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Planned Parenthood Applauds Move to Protect People’s Health and Rights

New York, NY – Today, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit to block the Trump-Pence administration from adding a citizenship status question to the 2020 Census. The suit was joined by 17 attorneys general in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. This follows California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filing a similar lawsuit just last week. The lawsuits argue that the citizenship question would violate the U.S. Constitution and result in an undercount of many immigrant communities.  

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Planned Parenthood applauds New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and others who are taking a stand to protect the health and rights of all people. This proposed change to the census is an attempt to intimidate immigrant communities, and will ultimately keep them from receiving critical services. Planned Parenthood is committed to standing with immigrant communities and fighting alongside our partners to call out this injustice.

Statement from Robin Chapelle Golston, CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts:

We thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for standing strong against the Trump administration's biased attack designed to disenfranchise people of color and immigrant communities. New York State rejects policies of division and will continue to insist that everyone be counted.

Statement from Crystal Strait, CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California:

We’re grateful to Attorney General Xavier Becerra for fighting to protect the rights, opportunities, and freedoms of people in our state. At Planned Parenthood, we believe that no one’s access to services should be compromised because they belong to an immigrant family or community.

The census plays a significant role in ensuring that federal tax dollars are sent where they’re needed based on how many people live in given communities. Adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is a departure from long-standing policy. This change, which is opposed by a bipartisan group of former U.S. Census Bureau directors, is expected to result in an undercount of many immigrant communities. 

Certain populations — particularly communities of color such as Latino and Asian American Pacific Islander families with young children, Indigenous populations, families with low incomes, and immigrant families — have historically been underrepresented in census data. Adding additional barriers and exacerbating the undercount of immigrant communities would likely mean a reduction in the amount of support for women’s health programs for those who need it most. For example, Medicaid, a program that one in five women of reproductive age rely on, accounts for 58 percent of census-guided funding. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also distributes funding for the nation’s program for affordable birth control based, in part, on the census results. Other services affected by the census range from highways and construction to foster care to State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (S-CHIP).  

In addition to determining federal funding distribution for critical programs in states, Census data also determines people’s long-term representation at the federal, state, and local levels, which influences important issues such as redistricting, the division of seats in the House of Representatives, and even local school zoning. This would further disenfranchise communities that are historically underrepresented in census data and in electoral office.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

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